Chatsworth House £32m restoration unveiled

image sourceChatsworth House Trust
image captionBefore and after pictures of Chatsworth House following the restoration

Chatsworth House has reopened after its biggest restoration project in 200 years.

The 10-year long programme, which cost about £32m, has seen "priceless" paintings restored, brickwork scrubbed and turrets rebuilt.

Dentistry tools were used to scrape out mortar in between huge blocks in the Derbyshire stately home's walls.

The Duchess of Devonshire said she was "absolutely thrilled to bits" by the work.

image sourceChatsworth House Trust
image captionBefore and after pictures of a Maria Cosway painting of Lady Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

"We never thought it would take this long, but it's been so worthwhile," she said.

The Duke of Devonshire said: "I don't think we realised there was so much to do... we hadn't had a look inside properly... the house was built to show off."

image sourceChatsworth House Trust
image captionThe house's statues have been cleaned

The Duke added that notes from builders and craftsmen in the 19th century had been found during the refit.

He said somebody had written "something about the corn laws and somebody else wrote, 'down with the Tories' - and there's some quite rude things as well I couldn't possibly repeat".

image captionNotes from the 19th century were found during the work

Visitors to an exhibition, entitled Chatsworth Renewed, will see the "extraordinary craftsmanship" that has gone into the restoration work, said curator Anna Farthing.

Tracts of lead have been replaced on the roof, tapestries and paintings cleaned, statues scrubbed and water features refurbished.

image sourceChatsworth House Trust
image captionBefore and after the cleaning of Chatsworth's Mortlake tapestry

In 2004, a structural survey of the house was undertaken revealing that major work was necessary to preserve the building for the next 100 years.

It was also deemed to be at significant risk from fire or flooding.

image sourceChatsworth
image captionThe scaffolding has been taken off the building

Weather damage and industrial pollution over hundreds of years also meant cleaning and replacing grit stone across the exterior of the house.

The exhibition detailing all the work will be on show at Chatsworth until October.

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